The Director General of National Taskforce on Small Arms, Light and Chemical Weapons (NATFORCE), Emmanuel Okereke, Tuesday raised alarm over alleged stockpiling of ammunitions by some state governors and other political players ahead of the forthcoming general elections.
Raising the alarm in Abuja at a press briefing, the NATFORCE boss said the alleged stockpilling of ammunitions by desperate political players, was facilitated by the porous nature of the border and non existence of a specific organisation to tackle the menace.
“Due to lack of a legally established specific body or commission as obtainable in 14 out of the 16 countries in the West African Subregion, all manner of ammunitions have been illegally brought into the country ahead of the coming elections by high class political players including some state governors”, he said.
According to him, for Nigeria to effectively tackle the menance of proliferation of ammunitions in the country with its attendant crimes, a National Commission for the Prohibition of Illegal importation of Small Arms, Ammunitions and Light Weapons and other related matters , must be established as already done by other west African countries except Nigeria and Gambia.
The Commission, he added, was recommended for all West African Countries through a resolution passed to that effect by the Economic Community of West Africa States ( ECOWAS) in December 2017.
“Unfortunately, while 14 out of the 16 member sub regional body have complied, Nigeria and Gambia are yet to do the needful in that direction”, he lamented.
He explained further that even before the ECOWAS ‘s resolution, a bill for the establishment of such commission has long been sponsored by his outfit called National Taskforce.
“The bill as it is currently in the 8th Senate, has passed second reading in the House of Representatives but not yet in the Senate, having earlier failed to scale through the required legislative processes in the 6th and 7th National Assembly,” he said.
The Commission when established he added, “would not be a burden on the finances of the country but rather be a revenue generating one.”
He called on the Senate, as it resumes plenary tomorrow, to fast track legislative business on the bill for the commission to be in place as soon as possible.